You can review proposed Senate district maps

Sen. Bill Coleman

We’re nearing the end of our third month of legislative work. Last week, we finished consideration of House bills in our chamber. Two weeks ago, we started with nearly 330 House bills, and after many long days and nights, we got through nearly 280.

Between the Senate and House almost 250 bills have been sent to the governor, and, as of Thursday, April 22, he had signed 180. Check out the Senate website to learn about Senate bills that will be becoming law.

One of my Senate bills and three of the House bills I carried this session were signed into law last week. SB 958 authorizes the board of directors for each fire protection district to acquire a certification to operate an emergency medical services agency from the Oklahoma State Department of Health or contract for services with a certified or licensed emergency medical service agency. This will help more communities have access to life-saving emergency services.

I discussed House Bill 1096 and 1877 in last week’s article, but they clarify social media communications between brewers and retail establishments and address the overprescribing of antipsychotic drugs to seniors in long-term care facilities.

HB 1684 modifies the duties of law enforcement when dealing with certain gambling offenses. It requires law enforcement to see if an arrest is warranted for violation of these crimes by filing a report with the district attorney.

I have seven additional bills currently on the governor’s desk, including three Senate bills and four House bills.

Again, SB 302 grants visiting teams in all regular season high school athletic competitions the same rights to radio broadcast, video stream and telegraphic play-by-play accounts as the home team beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

SB 315 will allow distiller licensees to sell their products directly to their customers at fairs, trade shows, festivals and other events as well as in any of their other business locations. Oklahoma is the only state in the nation that doesn’t already allow this.

SB 499 requires the 13.5% gross receipts tax be listed as a separate item on a customer’s receipt who purchases an alcoholic beverage for on-premises consumption, with the exception of catered, public and special events.

HB 2009 authorizes an advanced practice registered nurse to sign a death certificate. It also clarifies how “suicide” is recorded as the manner of death on a death certificate.

HB 2380 and 2665 are related to alcoholic beverage consumption and licensing. The first allows self-pouring and the use of automatic devices to serve alcohol. During a global pandemic, this is an innovative way to keep servers safe while still allowing consumers to purchase and consume alcohol. There are limitations to the amount served and video monitoring required to ensure safe practices. The second bill also relates to alcohol sales and makes the Nonresident Seller License and Manufacturer’s License separate, and modifies the amount paid to obtain one of these licenses, based on the number of cases sold in Oklahoma in the last calendar year.

HB 2778 authorizes a district attorney to destroy records and files pertaining to felony, misdemeanor, traffic, wildlife, or juvenile cases if they have been digitized.

Also, last week, the Senate Redistricting Committee presented our new legislative district maps. Again, we’re constitutionally required to have these done by the end of session. The final Census count has been delayed and states won’t receive the final numbers in time to use them this session, so we used estimates from the Census Bureau. Senate districts legally must contain approximately the same number of citizens to ensure equal representation. Because our population has grown by about 15% in the last decade, Senate districts will go from just over 78,000 citizens to nearly 82,000. House districts will go from just over 37,000 to nearly 39,000 residents.

Like normal legislation, the redistricting bills must be approved in committee and their respective chambers, before crossing the rotunda for further consideration, and finally move to the governor’s desk.

You can visit www.oksenate.gov/redistricting to see the new district maps, read through the public comments, and re-watch the public town hall meetings. If you have any questions or comments, send them to redistricting@oksenate.gov.

You can contact me by calling 405-521-5581 or emailing Bill.Coleman@oksenate.gov.